Hendon 0-1 Margate - That's money worth spending, admits promoted Margate boss Terry Brown

Saturday 16th May 2015
Hendon 0 – 1 Margate
Location Earlsmead Stadium, Carlyon Avenue, Harrow, Middlesex HA2 8SS
Kickoff 17/05/2015 15:00

Ryman Premier League Play-Off Final
Sunday 17th May 2015
Stephen McCartney reports from Earlsmead Stadium

MARGATE manager Terry Brown says he’s feeling proud after celebrating promotion from the Ryman Premier League for the fourth time in his glittering career.

The 62-year-old previously claimed promotion out of this division with Hayes, Aldershot Town and AFC Wimbledon and achieved the feat for Margate after 17 months in charge at Hartsdown Park.

GOING UP: Margate celebrate winning the Ryman Premier League Play-Offs after beating runners-up Hendon.
Photo: Don Walker - Margate FC

Margate finished their 46-game campaign in third-place with 85 points, finishing ten-points adrift of runners-up Hendon and thirteen behind champions Maidstone United, but the club got over the line by winning two play-off games in three days.

The Kent club defeated Dulwich Hamlet 2-1 on Thursday night, while Gary McCann’s Hendon knocked out nine-man Metropolitan Police by the same scoreline.

McCann guided Hendon to their best ever campaign since winning the Isthmian League title back in 1973, finishing runners-up and winning both the Robert Dyas (League) Cup and London Senior Cup and they went into the game on an impressive 25-match unbeaten run.

McCann revealed on the eve of the game that his budget was second-from-bottom in the division, while Margate has the highest.

But Hendon’s chances of playing in the rebranded Vanarama National League South for the first time in the club’s history were dealt a massive blow when striker Aaron Morgan was sent-off inside the opening 18 minutes.

Hendon goalkeeper Ben McNamara was outstanding during the first half but he couldn’t prevent Ryan Moss netting his 26th goal of the season to clinch promotion for the Kent club.

“A real hard slog and it’s been a real hard slog of a season,” said a visibly jaded Brown after the game.

“I think we’ve beaten the two other best sides in the league and Hendon in particular can feel really aggrieved after finishing ten points above us.

“They were a credit again today. They played most of the game with ten men – that did make a difference – and I was just glad to see it through because we were very nervous in the last half hour.

“Total credit to Hendon, who have had a magnificent year and we know we’ve got to get better next year because we won’t be pulling up any stones in the Conference South.  The way we’ve played this year, we need to play better.”

The decision to bring back Moss from his holiday in Dubai proved to be a masterstroke by the Margate manager.

“He’s had a good year and he’s scored some massively important goals for us,” added Brown.

A crowd of 1,228 flocked through the turnstiles on a sunny day at Harrow Borough’s Earlsmead Stadium and it was Margate that created the opening chance after only 140 seconds.

Charlie Allen picked the ball up in midfield and drove forward with the ball for 20-yards before drilling his right-footed shot over the crossbar from 25-yards.

Margate called McNamara into making his first save of the game inside nine minutes.

Lewis Taylor played a short free-kick inside to left-back Sam Rents, who floated a cross into the penalty area.  Hendon failed to clear and Charlie Wassmer laid the ball back for Allen to loop his first time shot towards the top near corner of the net, which was plucked out of the air high above the keeper’s head.

But Hendon’s chances of ending their 52 year Isthmian League membership suffered when referee Jake Hillier pulled out a red card from his right pocket and sent off Morgan following his lunge on Margate right-back Tambeson Eyong.

When asked his thoughts on the tackle, Brown replied: “Honestly, I’m going to get out of this because it was the other side of the pitch. I don’t know. I didn’t see it, I really didn’t see it!

“The Hendon players are obviously saying it was harsh. It could well have been. I don’t know!

“You have to say you’ve got more of a chance of beating ten men then you have eleven and that Hendon side do not know when they’re beaten! To go 25 games unbeaten is testimony of the team spirit that they’ve got.”

Margate enjoyed plenty of possession as Hendon parked the bus to protect McNamara, who excelled in the 28th minute, diving to his right to parry Allen’s right-footed drive from 25-yards, which screamed through a crowd of players.

Rents, who advanced into Hendon’s final third at every opportunity, cut the ball back to unmarked central midfielder Kane Wills, who drilled his right-footed shot just past the near post with McNamara diving in an attempt to make the save.

Tom Phipp played a fine diagonal pass which was controlled well by Lewis Taylor, who played the ball inside to striker Freddie Ladapo, who teed up Wills, who cracked a right-footed drive towards the bottom corner from 25-yards, which was well held by the diving McNamara.

Brown said: “He made some wonderful saves out there, didn’t he? He was a credit to their side and the centre half was winning his battles. It was never easy was it? It was never easy!”

Wassmer fed the ball to Eyong, who cut inside from the right, weaving past Oliver Sprague and Andre Da Costa, before stroking his left-footed shot towards the bottom far corner from 25-yards, but McNamara dived low to his left to save and hold on to the ball.

But Hendon’s hearts were broken when Margate scored the deserved winner in the 39th minute.

Lewis Taylor slipped the ball into the left-hand side of the penalty area and Ladapo cut the ball back across goal to find an unmarked Moss at the far post, who steered his left-footed shot to McNamara’s left from six-yards.

“That was one of the only times we really had a clear cut chance and we didn’t create loads considering though we had an extra man,” admitted Brown.

“Ryan Moss has taken most of his chances this year so you need a Ryan Moss in your side and regardless of what people say about tactics, you need a little bit of lady luck and we’ve rode our luck in both these games and thank goodness we have.”

Margate were given an opportunity to sweep the ball all around the pitch in an eleven-man move which resulted in McNamara frustrating Phipp.

And the busy Hendon keeper tipped over Rents’ hanging cross-come-shot, which was going to dip in underneath the crossbar at the last minute, on the stroke of half-time.

Brown said: “We didn’t really create any great chances. We had lots of opportunities to break them down. We didn’t really take them. 

“I don’t want to say we lacked any quality in the final third but next year we’ve got to punish teams a lot more than we have done this year.”

The second half wasn’t as exciting as the first half, as Hendon struggled to call Margate keeper Nikki Bull – who made two excellent saves to deny Dulwich Hamlet in the semi-finals - into any sort of action.

Once again, Margate were forced into shooting from distance, as Rents was given time and space to dill his left-footed drive screaming past the diving keeper and past the far post from 35-yards inside the opening six minutes.

Margate substitute Jamie Taylor and then Phipp both cracked long-range shots that were off-target before McNamara excelled again in the 57th minute.

Allen’s chipped pass found Ladapo on the right hand side and he found Lewis Taylor unmarked at the far post.

The winger, who scored the winning play-off final goal for Tonbridge Angels to beat Lowestoft Town 4-3 at Longmead Stadium back in 2011, hit his shot into the ground and the ball rose up for McNamara to pluck out of the air above his head.

Hendon created their only chance of the game in the 72nd minute.

The ball was played up to 28-goal striker Kezie Ibe, who brought the ball under control inside the Margate box, turned his marker but blasted his right-footed shot on the turn over the bar from fifteen-yards.

Brown said: “I’ve watched them over the last ten games – I’ve been to about three or four games – and they’re almost been running on empty!

“They’ve got a small squad and they’re playing the same players’ week-in-week-out and they’re entitled to feel exhausted and they were still pushing us in the 90 minutes so credit to them.”

Margate created yet another chance when Ladapo turned his man and fed Rents on the overlap and his cross was cleared out to Allen, who steered his left-footed shot through a crowd of players straight at McNamara.

Margate were still enjoying plenty of possession as Hendon sat back in a resilient fashion and Lewis Taylor missed a great chance to kill the game off with ten minutes left.

He played a one-two with substitute Jamie Taylor and was left unmarked inside the Hendon box but tried to place his right-footed shot across the keeper, but McNamara made a comfortable low save to his left.

Hendon threw bodies forward towards the end without troubling Bull in Margate’s goal.

A free-kick from substitute Peter Dean was pumped into the Margate box and the ball came out to right-back Sam Flegg on the edge of the box but the offside flag was raised as soon as the ball struck Dave Diedhiou inside the six-yard box.

But Hendon didn’t have any quality when it mattered in the final third, despite having Ibe (28 goals) and substitute Leon Smith (24) on the pitch after the break.

Brown added: “We didn’t really need to change. They had to change and credit to them, they pushed us right down to the wire.

“It’s just fantastic! You’re thinking he’s the old boy in there, he’s been there and done it.

“I said to Cashy (assistant manager Stuart Cash) halfway through the second half ‘I’m going to spew up in a minute’ and I felt absolutely awful and then sat back down again and got the pulse down.

“I can’t say I enjoyed any of it! As a manager you can’t enjoy it! I enjoyed the final whistle, it was an absolutely beautiful sound.

“I would like to give real credit to Hendon. They’ve had a fantastic year to finish ten points above us - and (they) get a bloke sent-off and that is football. You’ve got to take those chances. They’ve gone 25 games unbeaten and it’s a cruel, cruel sport and you’ve just got to take advantage whatever flips your way.

“Don’t get me wrong, Margate supporters have had enough cruel moments in their time so they’re due a bit of lady luck.

“I’m very proud, really proud for the Margate supporters because they haven’t had a lot to cheer about over the last, I don’t know, ten years or whatever.”

The Margate manager has been given an open cheque book from chairman Bob Laslett to bring an end of their ten year spell in the Ryman Premier League.

They will be coming up against Kent rivals Dartford, Ebbsfleet United and Maidstone United in the rebranded Vanarama National League South next season and it will be a tough league to get out of.

Brown said: “I think we’ve got to look at our squad. We’ve got to taper it a little. The side that finished today, we need to supplement that side.

“It’s a very cruel world out there. In the same way that had we hadn’t gone up my job would have been in jeopardy. I need to improve.

“I know we’ve got more money than everyone else but it’s not easy getting over the line in the Ryman, although I’ve won it, I don’t know, three times. Aldershot, Wimbledon, they’ve been incredibly tight and incredibly difficult.

“If you’ve got the biggest budget then get prepared for people to tell you you’ve got the biggest budget. I aint’ got a problem with that!

“I’ve been telling my players they ought to be playing better, they’re paid more money than the others!

“The truth of it is you need a bit of lady luck. We had lady luck in both of those games and we’ve won through and now that’s money worth spending.  We could have lost them and we could’ve been talking about a lot of money gone. 

“I’m really pleased for Bob (Laslett). He’s backed me 100%. Every time I’ve asked him for another player, he’s gone and got me another player.”

Meanwhile, Margate’s glorious victory means that all three of the runners-up in the three divisions of the Ryman League, Hendon, Folkestone Invicta and Harlow Town have all failed to win promotion via the play-off lottery.

Hendon: Ben McNamara, Sam Flegg, Oliver Sprague (Tony Taggart 84), Casey MacLaren, Charlie Goode, Kevin MacLaren, Dave Diedhiou, Lee O’Leary (Peter Dean 73), Aaron Morgan, Kezie Ibe, Andre Da Costa (Leon Smith 46).
Subs: Michael Murray, Daniel McNicholas

Booked: Oliver Speague 14, Peter Dean 90

Sent Off: Aaron Morgan 18

Margate: Nikki Bull, Tambeson Eyong, Sam Rents, Tom Phipp, Charlie Wassmer, Brett Johnson, Lewis Taylor, Kane Wills, Ryan Moss (Jamie Taylor 46), Freddie Ladapo, Charlie Allen (John Beales 90).
Subs: Ryan James, Anthony Riviere, Jack Bennett

Goal: Ryan Moss 39

Booked: Ryan Moss 13, Charlie Allen 30, Jamie Taylor 90

Attendance: 1,228
Referee: Mr Jake Hillier
Assistants: Mr Andrew Hickman & Mr James Killen
Fourth Official: Mr Adrian Gillett